gut microbiota By: Carolina Ramos
On: 7 February 2022

Differences in the Microbiota of Patients with ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder)

When we think about someone with ADHD, we don’t automatically think about what’s living in his or her gut. Still, recent research has shown that there might be some differences between the gut bacteria of adults with ADHD, compared to those without ADHD. This can help us to better understand what causes ADHD, and develop new treatments. Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that involves symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity (1,2). Due to these symptoms, someone with ADHD may experience problems at work, school and/or family or personal relationships (3). ADHD is quite a prevalent condition, affecting...

The gut microbiome is activated at birth By: Athanasia Ioannou, Lieke Haanstra
On: 6 February 2022

The Gut Microbiome, The Brain, and Cognitive Development in Infants

Humans are capable of complex activities such as decision-making, using tools and forming societies. The human body consist of 30 trillion cells that have differentiated to give each body part its unique properties. Human cells are the pillars that enabled man to go to the moon, design massive computers, genetically modify plants, eradicate diseases and reach the golden age of mean 85.7 years. But let us tell you the truth: this is only half the story! The human body is home to 39 trillion bacteria that, collectively with other microbes, are called our microbiome.1 So, does that mean that we...

How gender effects your behaviour and gut By: Eline Rots
On: 10 January 2022

How Gender Effects Your Behaviour and Gut

There are many biological differences between men and women. This does not only include physical appearances, but also for instance mental health [1] [2]. For example, whether you are biologically a man or a women can influence your risk of developing a particular mental condition such as depression or ADHD. In this blog I will discuss how differences in biological sex* are linked to differences in the gut microbiome and problem- and prosocial behaviour. Differences in problem- and prosocial behaviour Sex differences have not only been found in clinically diagnosed mental disorders, but also in behavioural problem- and prosocial behaviour...

Orthorexia nervosa By: Simone Demmel
On: 10 January 2022

When Healthy Eating becomes too much – Orthorexia Nervosa

We all know that healthy eating is good for us. But when healthy eating becomes an obsession, this can be harmful. This condition is called orthorexia nervosa. As part of the APPetite-study (work package 3 of the Eat2beNICE-project) I completed my master thesis investigating the role of emotion (dys)regulation, negative affectivity/mood, depressive symptoms, and impulsivity in relation to symptoms of orthorexia nervosa. In this blog I will explain what role mood and emotions play in this condition. What is orthorexia nervosa? Healthy nutrition is important for physical and psychological wellbeing [1, 2]. However, a mental obsession with eating healthy can...

winter depression - seasonal affective disorder (SAD) By: Marie Mitschke
On: 10 January 2022

Remedies for Winter Depression – Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

“BRACE YOURSELVES – WINTER IS COMING!” As this quote from a famous TV series correctly predicts, the winter season is approaching. With already shorter days and cooler temperatures, autumn is slowly making space for the upcoming season. While winter often brings beautiful snow, calmness and cozy evenings with tea and biscuits, it sadly also brings the so called “winter blues” for some. But there’s also good news, because there are several ways to lift your mood during these cold and dark months. What is commonly known as winter blues is a sub-form of seasonal affective disorder. It is a recurrent...

cigarette smoking effects gut health By: Carolina Ramos
On: 20 November 2021

How Cigarette Smoke can HARM your Gut

The effect of cigarette smoke is not only bad for your lungs, but your gut microbiota also suffers significant damage. The intestinal microbiota is the collection of microorganisms present in our intestine. Its balance can be altered by many environmental factors such as eating habits, the consumption of drugs (such antibiotics) and toxins, including cigarette smoke (1,2). Nicotine is known to be inhaled into the lungs and rapidly absorbed from the lung alveoli, but it is also absorbed through the skin and gastrointestinal tract. Once nicotine is absorbed it can exert multiple favourable and unfavourable physiological effects, such as increasing...

diabetes and mental disorders By: Sofia Efimochkina
On: 18 November 2021

The link between diabetes and mental disorders – what we have learned from mice

The global incidence of diabetes has increased significantly in recent years and continues to grow.For many patients, it is not only a physical and emotional burden, but also a financial problem due to a long-term, often lifelong treatment. There are two main types of diabetes, based on their causal factors: Type 1 of diabetes (T1D) is characterized by deficient insulin production and requires daily administration of this hormone. In the case of type 2 of diabetes (T2D) the insulin production is not the problem, but instead insulin receptors don’t respond well to the insulin molecule. This is called insulin resistance...

Diet and Gene Expression By: Mandy Meijer
On: 13 November 2021

How Diet Influences Gene Expression

Note: Image adapted from Dolinoy, Weidman, Waterland & Jirtle 2006 in Enviromental Health Perspectives [2]. The human body consists of more than 200 different types of cells, but all cells contain the same DNA code. How is it possible that the same code tells the various types of cells to be different? The information for life is not only coded in the DNA, but also on the DNA. Chemical attachments, which are called DNA methylation, can “turn off” part of the DNA code that are not needed in a specific cell. DNA methylation can also be influenced by our surroundings...

middle aged woman eating healthy food for a healthy brain By: Stephanie Nishi
On: 11 November 2021

Following a “Healthy” Diet May Benefit Cognitive Performance in Middle Age and Beyond

Recently, a research group in Australia published an interesting paper where they compared earlier published findings assessing the impact of different diets on cognitive health. In this blog I will summarize the most important findings of this study, as it has valuable implications for the work we are doing with the Eat2beNICE project. What was the reason for this research and key objective? Cognitive health, meaning how well we think, learn, and remember, is an important component of maintaining our quality of life, social and economic well-being. Our cognitive health declines as a normal part of the aging trajectory. However,...

fast car speeding By: Katre Sakala
On: 5 November 2021

Fast driver, fast life: genetics and everyday behaviour reflected in risky driving

In early October, Tõnis Tokko – a PhD student in our group – presented his research at the ECNP annual conference, an international meeting where researchers from all over the world present their latest findings on topics related to neuroscience and mental health. His presentation about the links between risk-taking behaviour in traffic, unhealthy lifestyle and genetics attracted a lot of media attention. You can read the full press release below. But let me summarize for you what Tõnis found. Tõnis’s presentation was about risk-taking in traffic and how one genotype and unhealthy lifestyle is associated with that. Both risk-taking...